Saving and replanting seed defines agriculture. Our farming ancestors and their communities stewarded our seed from season to season, trading with neighboring and distant communities, and passing seed on to the next generation. In other words, community in its largest sense yielded the foundation of seed that we rely on today.
Organic Seed Alliance recognizes that we have lost community-based seed knowledge and infrastructure as quickly as the crop genetic diversity on which agriculture depends. Consolidation in the industry, and inequitable constraints on how farmers and researchers manage seed, has eroded a foundation that once met the diverse needs of farmers.
We may never return to the day where most farmers save and improve their own seed. But we believe that protecting our ability to feed ourselves in a manner that honors both people and planet means returning to the roots of agriculture: community seed systems.
That is why our 2012 Organic Seed Growers Conference – Strengthening Community Seed Systems – emphasizes strategies and techniques for rebuilding community around seed. Workshops provide education in organic plant breeding – from selecting seed on your farm to updates on university projects – and organic seed production, regional marketing and distribution, timely policy issues, and so much more.
Together, we hold the power to create healthy seed systems that meet the needs of farmers, eaters, and our changing planet.
Micaela Colley, Executive Director